Report: Ultrabook makers lament high costs

Intel has generated a fair amount of publicity around its ultrabook concept, and based on early sightings of systems like Asus' new UX series, the hype seems justified. However, DigiTimes now says notebook vendors are complaining that Intel's high component prices could make it difficult for ultrabooks to undercut Apple's MacBook Air lineup.

Quoting "sources from Taiwan-based supply chain makers," DigiTimes explains, "Designing an ultrabook based on Intel's technical suggestions will still be unable to reduce the machine's price level to lower than the MacBook Air's unless Intel is willing to reduce its prices, which already account for one-third of the total cost." The site points out that only price cuts from Intel will allow ultrabook prices to slip under the $1,000 mark. (Intel promised sub-$1,000 price tags when it announced ultrabooks earlier this year.)

This isn't the only report to forebode dearer-than-expected ultrabooks. Late last month, SlashGear claimed that Acer's ultrabooks will definitely cost more than $1,000, while Asus will only slap three-digit price tags on Core i3-based versions of its UX-series ultrabooks. Word is that UX-series variants with Core i5/i7 chips and solid-state drives will be priced in the $1,000-2,000 range.

Apple's cheapest MacBook Air, meanwhile, is still sitting pretty at $999. Considering how well-made Apple notebooks tend to be, I'm not sure if I'd shell out the same amount of dough for an Acer or Asus ultrabook—unless, of course, the Windows machine had spectacular build quality with a good keyboard and a nice, big touchpad.

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